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Settlement Talks Between the Mets’ Owners and the Madoff Trustee Have Collapsed

At one point, February 9 looked as if it would be a critical day for the lawsuit brought against the Mets' owners by Irving Picard, the trustee for the victims of Bernie Madoff's Ponzi scheme. The suit was under seal, and a hearing on whether to unseal it had been scheduled for that day. If unsealed, the public would learn exactly what Picard was alleging and how badly the Mets could be impacted financially. In the meantime, the two sides worked on a potential settlement. Now, all of that has changed.

The two sides are no longer negotiating a settlement, and a lawyer for the Mets' owners said yesterday that her clients no longer oppose unsealing the suit. Perhaps we should have seen this coming: A Mets lawyer fired back at Picard in yesterday's Daily News, calling the complaint "baseless, both factually and legally." But such a response was only necessary because details of the suit had been leaked to the Times — by Picard's office, the Mets' lawyer believed. If the suit remained under seal, such a process promised to repeat itself: Leaked allegation, response, leaked allegation, response, and so on.

Soon enough, perhaps even today, we'll know all of Picard's allegations. And soon enough, the Mets will have a chance to respond to all of them. (Perhaps Fred Wilpon, or his lawyers, will respond to this lawsuit, as well.) The Mets' owners and their legal team had apparently already decided to defend themselves in the press, where their fans could hear their side of the story. Now, it appears, they'll have the chance to respond not just in the court of public opinion, but in federal bankruptcy court, as well.

Deal's out! Mets face $1B suit [NYP]
Suit against Mets to go public [ESPN New York]
Madoff Victim Says Mets Owners Ignored Signs [NYT]

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Photo: Ron Antonelli/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images